Brazil court suspends criminal proceedings over Samarco dam burst
A Brazilian court has temporarily suspended criminal proceedings against 22 employees of Samarco Mineração SA and owners Vale SA and BHP Billiton Group, who are accused of killing 19 people in the 2015 Samarco iron ore mine disaster, over the validity of evidence submitted in court, Reuters reported. A judge in Minas Gerais state is considering whether to dismiss the case on claims from two Samarco executives that phone data, instant messages and emails were collected outside of the time period legally authorized.
Lonmin flags further asset sales to weather South African platinum slump
Citing adverse economic conditions and inflationary pressures on the platinum sector in South Africa, Lonmin Plc announced further measures to generate additional cash flow by selling off selected assets. The company intends to sell excess processing capacity of up to 500,000 platinum ounces per annum. It is also considering selling or introducing partners to its Limpopo and Akanani platinum group metals, or PGM, projects following a review of major development capital requirements and to explore options to introduce funding partners for the MK2 PGM project in South Africa.
Chile expects miners to invest US$65B over 10 years
Chilean Mining Minister Aurora Williams said mining companies are seeking to invest about US$65 billion in the country over the next 10 years, nearly one-third more than previously estimated, Reuters reported. More than 90% of the projects are in copper and include the reactivation of the El Abra mill, a joint venture between Codelco and Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
* Anglo American Plc has seen its productivity rise by 70% over the last four or five years, according to Technical Director Tony O'Neill. The executive said that while the company has always been good at technology development, it has not been so good at applying that technology to its own operations in the past.
* Brazilian police arrested a couple for allegedly unscrewing the bases of energy towers belonging to Vale near the city of Parauapebas and seeking up to 15 million Brazilian reais from the miner in exchange for abandoning plans to continue such attacks, Bloomberg News wrote. According to a report by Globo, Vale has refused to negotiate with or pay extortioners despite over a dozen attacks.
* A new high-grade copper discovery made in Western Australia's Bryah Basin by Auris Minerals Ltd. has spurred investor interest in newcomer Bryah Resources Ltd., which has adjoining ground and is close to listing on the ASX.
* Audalia Resources Ltd. sold three exploration licenses, comprising the Gascoyne lead project in Western Australia, to Serena Minerals Pty Ltd. for 2.5 million shares.
* Members of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers marched to AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s head office in Johannesburg to protest the miner's move to cut 8,500 jobs at its loss-making mines, Mining.com reported. The union is threatening a general strike as it also concerned about the Bokoni platinum mine's plan to cut over 2,600 permanent jobs by next month.
* The Solidarity union expressed concerned over Lonmin's move to remove the recognition and organizational rights of minority trade unions including Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers and Uasa, Mining Weekly reported. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is now recognized as the only trade union at the company's operations.
* Conroy Gold & Natural Resources Plc shareholders approved the removal of six of the company's nine directors. Meanwhile, the resolution to appoint Patrick O'Sullivan, Paul Johnson and Gervaise Heddle as board members failed. The board now comprises executive chairman Richard Conroy, managing director Maureen Jones and nonexecutive director Garth Earls.
* Explaurum Ltd. recorded the highest-grade intersection at its Tampia gold project in Western Australia. Results included an intersection of 10 meters at 72.94 g/t gold from 61 meters, including 1 meter at 716 g/t gold from 68 meters.
* Capricorn Metals Ltd reported initial JORC-compliant probable ore reserves of 21 million tonnes at 1.06 g/t of gold containing 713,000 ounces for the Bibra deposit at its Karlawinda gold project in Western Australia.
* Millennium Minerals Ltd. reported a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Bartons Underground pit of its Nullagine gold project in Western Australia. At a cutoff of 2.0 g/t gold, Bartons Underground is estimated to host indicated and inferred resources of 80,400 ounces gold contained within 475,900 tonnes grading 5.3 g/t gold.
* Yancoal Australia Ltd. and its brokers met with fund managers in Singapore, as the company kicked off the process to hunt for equities investors with a three-to-five year view and willing to support its Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. acquisition from Rio Tinto, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk wrote.
* Tata Steel Ltd. posted consolidated net profit attributable to owners of 9.21 billion Indian rupees in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, swinging from a net loss of 31.83 billion rupees in the year-ago quarter. Revenue in the period rose 19% year over year to 309.7 billion rupees on the back of increased capacity in India and Tata's restructuring efforts in Europe.
* Compass Minerals International Inc. swung to second-quarter net loss of US$6.4 million from a year-ago net profit of US$6.3 million. The results were pressured by increased costs in the salt segment and sluggish plant nutrition sales in South America, the company noted. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 35% to US$228 million in the quarter, driven primarily by the addition of US$66.1 million in revenue from the acquisition of Produquímica Indústria e Comércio SA.
* PJSC Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works booked a net profit of US$297 million in the second quarter, a 23.2% improvement compared to US$241 million in the first quarter but a 9.7% decline compared to the second quarter of the previous year. The company's second-quarter profit was positively impacted by the US$149 million generated by restoring reserves created for the depreciation of construction work in progress.
* Merafe Resources Ltd. posted a surge in headline EPS for the six months that ended June 30 to 19.4 South African cents from 2.3 cents a year ago, while EBITDA jumped to 865.4 million rand from 256.6 million rand a year ago. The company's attributable ferrochrome production improved 10% to a record of 216,000 tonnes in the six-month period.
* Roy Hill Holdings Pty Ltd. believes that it is close to reaching its full capacity of 55 million tonnes per annum of iron ore after lifting its run rate in July. The Roy Hill mine was expected to be exporting 55 mtpa by the end of 2016, but issues with the port and processing plant delayed the ramp-up to full capacity until this year.
* Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will accept for repurchase about US$484.1 million worth of its 8.250% senior secured notes due 2020 under a cash tender offer. The company is paying US$1,123.75 per US$1,000 face value to redeem the 2020 debt.
* Five miners were killed and two others were injured after a coal mine in Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, collapsed due to a gas explosion, Mining.com reported. Authorities have arrested six officials of the mining company for failing to observe safety standards.
* Ding He Mining Holdings Ltd. entered a strategic cooperation letter of intent with Xinjiang Tianpeng Energy Co. Ltd. for magnesium ingot production. The parties also plan to team up on starting new businesses, including in semicoke.
* Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. resumed operations at its Oita Works plate mill in Japan after implementing all the necessary safety measures. The group suspended operations after a fire broke out at the mill Jan. 5.
* PJSC Alrosa suspended operations at the Mir underground pipe of its Mirny Division operations in eastern Siberia following a mine flood Aug. 4 that left eight workers missing, but it insists that long-term contracts will not be affected. Alrosa has a "substantial balance and high diversification of mining" and remains on track to meet customer contract requirements, a spokesperson for the Russian company told Interfax. Meanwhile, the search for the missing miners continues.
* Albemarle Corp. posted attributable net income of US$103.3 million for the second quarter, swinging from a net loss of US$314.8 million in the same 2016 quarter. Net sales in the period rose year over year to US$737.3 million from US$669.3 million.
* Richland Resources Ltd. reported a maiden JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate for exploration license 25973, located about 45 kilometers from its Capricorn sapphire mining operations in Queensland, Australia. The estimate comprises inferred resources of 5 million loose cubic meters of sapphire-bearing gravel at an estimated grade of 3.5 grams per loose cubic meter, or 17.5 carats per loose cubic meter.
* Force Commodities Ltd. signed a binding heads of agreement with Lithium Age Pty. Ltd. to acquire a 70% interest in the Kitotolo and Kiambi projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are considered prospective for lithium, tin and tantalum.
* Pilbara Minerals Ltd. Managing Director Kenneth Brinsden said the next catalyst for the lithium sector will be battery and car manufacturers investing in mining projects to secure a supply of raw materials, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* W Resources Plc said Metso Corp. unit Metso Minerals Portugal Lda. was awarded the €1.2 million contract to build the crusher plant for the La Parrilla tungsten-tin project in Spain, part of an expansion that will produce up to 2,700 tonnes per year of tungsten concentrate.
* The aggregate market capitalization for the top 25 mining companies increased by 13.9% in July compared with the end of June, with the majority of these companies experiencing an increase in market value. The top 25 companies account for about 49% of the industrywide market cap of US$1.4 trillion, which includes 2,462 companies.
* The mining boom may have reached its peak a few years ago, but billion-dollar investments will still be needed to maintain production in Australia, according to Diggers & Dealers Forum Chairman Nick Giorgetta.
* Australia's Minerals Council will lobby to reduce unions' powers to strike over the content of workplace agreements under a renewed push to reform industrial laws in this term of parliament, The Guardian reported.
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